Virus Crisis Exacts Growing Toll on Massachusetts Nonprofits
The United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, based in Boston, noting that "many nonprofit agencies will face financial disruption...[putting] serious pressure on nonprofit operating budgets."
Among those likely to be hard hit, the United Way said, are nonprofit agencies that will see increased demand for food assistance in light of school closures, as several hundred thousand children across the state rely on federally funded school-based programs for one, two, or more meals each day.
Noting that "our work must not stop," The Boston Foundation, based in Boston, acknowledging that many nonprofit operations are being affected by the pandemic, said, "We will be looking for opportunities to work with our own funds and in partnership with donors to support those most impacted by the virus and the resulting health and economic disruptions."
Beth Francis, president and CEO of the Essex County Community Foundation, based in Danvers, quoted in The Salem News, said, "All nonprofits, no matter the cause, will be impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Most have canceled fundraising events and activities; all will incur significantly increased expenses to serve the rising need."
Philanthropy Massachusetts, a Boston-based regional association of grant makers, will host a free, virtual roundtable discussion March 19 at 11 a.m. on how funders are responding, actions they are considering and/or taking, and possible collective actions under consideration. Learn more.
Food pantries across Massachusetts, including the Greater Boston Food Bank in Boston, are continuing to operate, although many are modifying operations. The Open Door in Gloucester, cancelled large volunteer groups but noted that it still needs volunteers. The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts in Hatfield today announced suspension of its mobile food bank and is taking steps "to ensure continuity of operations."
Kayte Morris, executive director of Island Food Pantry in Vineyard Haven, told The Vineyard Gazette that families have been coming in at record numbers this winter, but that volunteers are coming forward. The paper noted that the Island Food Equity Network met yesterday to develop plans to get food to needy people on Marth'as Vineyard, including schoolchildren and the elderly.
Nonprofit Fundraising Events Cancelled or PostponedMany Massachusetts nonprofits that rely on events during the spring to generate a significant share of the their annual fundraising total have cancelled or postponed those fundraisers. Among them:
The YMCA of Greater Boston, which operates 16 sites in Boston, Charlestown, Reading, Waltham, and Woburn, announced it closed its fitness centers and pools as of March 16 and would use its facilities to feed children and to care for the youth and teens in the communities it serves.
Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Angell Animal Medical Center announced that its Boston and Waltham sites will be closed to all patients, starting March 18, except for urgent and emergency cases.
Arts organizations across the state have closed or cancelled events. See a current list of Greater Boston closings. More are listed here.
Partners in Health (PIH). a Boston-based nonprofit that provides health services to some of the poorest regions of the world, on Friday announced it is launching a comprehensive effort to support a response across its network of supported countries around the world to "contain and control the spread of the virus... and demonstrate to the world what aggressive action in vulnerable settings can achieve."
PIH said the COVID-19 mortality rate is anticipated to be far worse in the places where it works, and that "it is unclear if the current global response accounts for the factors in these settings."